By Amanda Rohwedder, founder of Temple + Table.
I frequently hear from newlywed – and not so newlywed – couples that they struggle to know what to make for dinner and want ideas that are both healthy and easy. Enter: meal planning! Cooking certain ingredients in bulk at the start of the week to use in multiple meals not only saves time but is also very budget friendly. Families who meal plan typically have less food waste as well.
Meal planning can serve as a beneficial conversation for newly married couples because it involves your health (how can we nourish our bodies well?), household finances (hello grocery budget!), and individual preferences (“I didn’t realize you hate mushrooms!”). It also invites collaboration, teamwork, thoughtful communication, and compromise. Maybe one person enjoys planning out the meals and writing the grocery list and the other prefers to do the shopping – talk about what makes the most sense for your family.
When establishing a routine of meal prepping, it helps to set aside a specific time as you plan out your week to prepare ingredients in bulk. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same from week to week but is important to factor it into your weekly commitments. In deciding on what meals to make, you want to be mindful to always have a protein source, a healthy fat, and some complex carbohydrates on your plate. This ensures that you are getting an adequate amount of nutrients in every meal and avoids big spikes in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, which both affect energy levels throughout the day.
Ideas of what to prep in bulk or in large batches for easy meals throughout the week:
- Tuna or chicken salad – try adding turmeric, curry spices, or chopped fresh herbs to mix it up; serve on sprouted grain bread or in a lettuce cup
- Hardboiled eggs – perfect on-the-go protein option; slice into a salad, eat as a quick breakfast with hummus and a piece of fruit, or make into an egg salad
- Savory Black Beans – SEE RECIPE BELOW – serve on top of scrambled eggs or sweet potatoes
- Homemade vinaigrette – avoid added sugars and preservatives commonly found in store-bought dressings; basic vinaigrette recipe is two parts oil to one part vinegar and salt to taste, add mustards, tahini, or herbs for variety
- Fresh guacamole – perfect for taco night or adding to chicken salad
- Yogurt dip – combine whole fat plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh dill for a delicious dip; pair with veggies or smear on sandwiches
- Roasted vegetables – roast carrots, Brussels sprouts, or hearty veg of choice with onion and garlic; add to quinoa bowl or salad
- Lentils – pairs well with tomato sauce, greens, and any protein
- Quinoa – add to soups, salads, or sauté with ground beef; also acts as a quality plant-based protein (one cup contains 8 grams protein)
Savory Black Beans
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, preferably organic and low salt
- 1 t. coconut oil
- 1 t. cumin
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
Rinse black beans in a strainer. (This reduces sodium content of canned goods.) Melt coconut oil in small saucepan over low to medium heat. Add rinsed black beans to pan. Stir in seasonings and heat beans through, about 5-7 minutes.
About the Author
Amanda Rohwedder is a degreed nutritionist based in Denver, Colorado. She holds a B.S. Nutritional Science and an M.S. Medical Science with a concentration in Women’s Health. She founded Temple and Table in 2017 as a way to nourish our culture by drawing a connection between physical and spiritual health. For more information on T+T’s mission, visit templeandtable.com.
NOW AVAILABLE! Order a copy of Amanda’s recipe book published by CCL, Food for Fertility: Recipes to Improve Health and Manage PCOS at ccli.org/store.